Faith, Media & Culture

Faith, Media & Culture


Review: Hallmark Channel’s “Signed, Sealed” delivers witty, heartfelt tale of eccentric, endearing Post Office heroes

posted by John W. Kennedy

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

Nothing quite compares to a well-written letter. Or script for that matter. And Martha Williamson (Touched by an Angel) certainly has written a charmer with Saturday night’s Signed, Sealed Delivered, her Hallmark Channel backdoor pilot about a pleasantly quirky team of postal investigators assigned the somewhat dated task of connecting lost — or so-called “dead” — letters to their intended recipients.

It’s that word “pleasant” that makes the show seem ironically subversive in this era of dark and cynical television.  Oliver, the leader of the team winningly played by Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty) belies the idea (too often taken as a truism in Hollywood) that only snarky, cynical heroes can be interesting. The dignified and quietly compassionate Oliver is the polar opposite of both adjectives yet he’s as interesting as hell heaven.  Somehow simultaneously suave and what some would consider nerdy, he is a man of deep integrity who carries within himself a deep wound from his past. But where recent TV protagonists (i.e. House) have channeled their inner hurt through sharp-edged putdowns and general amoral unpleasantness, Oliver deals with his pain by throwing himself into his work and struggling to do the right thing. He’s all about following rules — like never reading more of a letter than is absolutely necessary to ascertain its proper destination — but it’s clear as an envelope window that he cares about the people involved.  The bottom line is you can’t help but like the guy.

We first meet Oliver when he first meets Shane (Kristin Booth), the newest member of his team (though he doesn’t know that in their first encounter). Besides being cute as hell heaven, she is his polar opposite in terms of impulsiveness and a willingness to bend rules when she sees them as being in the way of a greater good. Their yin-yang teamwork is at the (big) heart of the drama.

Backing them up are Rita (Crystal Lowe) and Norman (Geoff Gustafson) who provide sweet comic relief as loyal and awkwardly shy team members who clearly yearn for each other — but lack the social confidence to tell one another. Then there’s Daphne Zuniga (Melrose Place) as Andrea, the officious postal official who — for no particular reason — has it in for the Dead Letter Office.

The pilot opener concerns a young woman (Laci J. Mailey of Falling Skies) whose farewell lover letter that unexpectedly connects to a murder case that has ensnared the poor sap (Benjamin Hollingsworth) to whom she wrote it. We get to know the couple through flashbacks as the team’s investigation slowly requires more paragraphs of the wayward correspondence to be revealed. It’s a clever device that really works. I could reveal more but it would be like reading too far ahead in a dead letter.

What I can tell you is that you’ll find yourself rooting for both the sender and recipient — and for the Dead Letter crew. I can also tell you that I found myself laughing out loud at dialogue that managed to be genuinely witty without being cutting or crass. Yes, TV writers, it can be done.

Finally, I can tell you that there’s a happy ending. As a result of exceptionally-strong audience testing, Signed, Sealed, Delivered has already been picked up as a series.

Here’s hoping both the pilot of the ongoing show finds the kind of ratings that will send a clear and unmistakable message to others networks. Better late than never.

To sum up, Signed, Sealed, Delivered gets my stamp of approval. Highly recommended.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered pilot airs this Saturday night (10/12) at 9:00 PM ET. The series is set to launch in second quarter of 2014 with 10 one-hour episodes. Check out the promo below:

YouTube Preview Image

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11



Previous Posts

"Unbroken" legacy: Luke Zamperini talks about the Christian faith his father passed on to him
Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4PdNE-RUVY The son also rises.  Louis Zamperini died of pneumonia on July 2, 2014 at the age of 97 -- just about 70 years after he was originally classified as Killed in Action when h

posted 3:05:58pm Dec. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Will "Old Fashioned" romance fly in 2015? USA Today suggests yes
Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture. Thumbs up! That's the word from USA Today on Rene Gutteridge's  novelization of Old Fashioned which has been released in advance the upcoming faith-themed film on Valentine's Day.  The romantic drama  starring young R

posted 9:44:35am Dec. 19, 2014 | read full post »

In 2015: "Exodus" doc plus Ben Franklin in faith-themed adventure + Hallmark's record holiday ratings
Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture. Coming Attractions: One night event: Patterns of Evidence: Exodus to run in select theaters across the US Monday, January 19 @ 7:00 PM local time. Whether or not Ridley Scott's take on Exodus works for you, you might

posted 12:16:25pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Christian singer Melissa Greene on NBC's "The Sing-Off"
Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture. Veteran Christian music artist Melissa Greene will appear on NBC’s two-hour season premiere holiday special of its popular musical competition series The Sing-Off. Green will perform Ghost with the female group Timoth

posted 5:18:29am Dec. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Hallmark's "Best Christmas Party Ever"
Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture. Best Christmas Party Ever air tomorrow night (12/13) @ 8:00 PM (ET) on Hallmark Channel. Synopsis (from the Hallmark Channel website): With the holiday season at hand, young party planner Jennie Stanton (Torrey De

posted 6:00:23am Dec. 12, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.